Markus Frind is an interesting character, who has left some provocative comments on Read/WriteWeb before. He claims he's earning $10,000 per day from Google Adsense from his dating website, plentyoffish.com. These claims have been vigorously challenged by some, but external data sources (e.g. see this comment thread) do seem to back him up. Recently Markus has been trying to convince me to post something about the fact that he is running a huge scale website and earning lotsa money all on his own. His story is interesting enough to post, so I've relented.
Markus is basically a one-man band running a website that, by his latest traffic figures, is two and a half times bigger than digg.com. Digg.com gets 200 Million page views per month, but Markus says plentyoffish gets 500 Million:
"The site(plentyoffish.com and Forums.plentyoffish.com) serves ~500 million pageviews a month and does so using 1 DB server and 1 Web Server which is a far cry from the industry standard of 300+ servers for a site of this size."
Digg uses 3 web servers and 8 small database servers. Recently I asked Markus via email how much work he puts into the site on a daily basis. His reply:
"It is around 2 hours of work a day and that stays steady because as the site grows i automate more and more. Some of that work I get my girlfriend to help me with, she is far more diplomatic when answering mean emails. From what I can tell i should have no problem running it by myself even if it gets to 3 times its current size."
On the hardware side, Markus gave me these details:
"I have 4 servers.
1. DB server
2. Web server, handles 1 million pageviews an hour at peak. No static pages at all, way to slow. All pages are Gzipped on the fly.
3. Mail Server. Handles 1 million emails/day and also has a webserver that handles a Instant messager. That translates to 4-5 million polling pageviews/hour at peak.
4. Image server, Like all major sites it serves images to a massive content distribution system/cache.
5. Outbound traffic is 70 to 100mb/sec If it was uncompressed it would probably run at 140mb/sec"
So Markus has managed to set himself up very nicely with his Web operation. OK it is a dating site (sex sells!), but even so it puts the success of some of the more prominent web 2.0 blogs and sites into context, doesn't it? Or as Markus himself put it: "I think its time people stop hyping web 2.0 crap and start promoting real ideas that have real business models." Not sure I agree with that sentiment, but I guess you can't argue with the scale of success Markus has achieved.
As for what he is doing with all his money and free time, he said he's traveling a lot! OK, Markus has made me well and truly jealous :-) But congrats to him for the success. As for me and my humble blog, I'd just like to get to 1 million page views per month (real page views, not the inflated rss and bot-infested figues a lot of people bandy about!). That's what I call ramping up - sad isn't it :-)